It can be a hard road back after the Olympic Games. Especially if it didn’t go well. Jennifer Abel was fourth twice at Rio 2016, dashing her ambitions to leave Brazil with two medals.
On Sunday in Kazan, Russia she took another step in her return to form by winning a bronze medal in the women’s 3-metre springboard at Diving World Series #3.
“After the Olympics it was really hard,” said the 25-year-old.
She says her body feels good on the board, it’s been her mental state that has challenged her.
“Coming here to Russia my main goal was to bring myself back.”
Abel, from Laval, Que., was also fourth at the two previous Diving World Series events, both in China.
Today was different.
“I almost cried when I was on the podium because I saw the two Chinese flags and the Canadian flag,” said the three-time Olympian.
“I was just thinking about the Olympics, like I was so close to being with those flags.”
China’s Tingmao Shi, the 2016 Olympic champion, won gold with 381.90 points. Han Wang, also on the dominant Chinese team was second with 363.85 points.
Abel’s score of 347.15 points is her highest in the three Diving World Series events this season.
“It’s time for me to turn the page and move on and just work on Tokyo, and we have other competitions before that but work on myself,” said Abel.
To close the competition Abel and François Imbeau-Dulac demonstrated their ease with each other to win silver (320.76 points) in the mixed synchro 3-metre.
Today’s second-place finish adds to a silver (Diving World Series #2, Guangzhou) and bronze (Diving World Series #1, Beijing)
On Saturday, Imbeau-Dulac enjoyed his first-ever Diving World Series individual final, in the men’s springboard.
These are notable results, considering the St. Lazare, Que. native is returning from a torn labrum in his hip and technical challenges that hampered him in previous years, causing him to miss the Rio Olympic team.
Imbeau-Dulac has repeatedly spoken about his desire to prove himself on the world stage.
“This little success that he has lived by getting into a final at the world series is just a nice step towards that end goal,” said his coach Aaron Dziver.
“He’s got to be really, really proud of that and as his coach I’m very proud of that,” said Dziver.
“It just illustrates that Frankie is making his comeback and it’s not a flash in the pan.”
Canada’s Vincent Riendeau, of Pointe-Claire, Que., was fifth in his men’s 10-metre platform semi-final (438.15 points) and did not advance to the final.
The Chinese team proved unbeatable once again, winning all 10 events in Kazan. They also swept the gold medals in Guangzhou, China in March at Diving World Series #2 and have topped 29 of 30 podiums so far.
The senior national team will now return to Canada and prepare for a home meet. Diving Grand Prix #2 (Canada Cup) will be held in Gatineau, Que., April 6 to 9.
Detailed results are available through: